Authentic Hungarian Bean Goulash with Bacon and Apples

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Authentic Hungarian Bean Goulash with Bacon and Apples

Hungarian Bean Goulash with Bacon and Apples

When it comes to iconic comfort food, few cuisines rival the hearty and soul-warming dishes that Hungary is renowned for. One such gem is Hungarian Bean Goulash with Bacon and Apples, a flavorful and satisfying stew that encapsulates the essence of Hungarian cuisine. This dish effortlessly combines smoky bacon, sweet apples, and tender beans, all simmered to perfection in a paprika-infused broth. It's a symphony of flavors and textures that speaks to Hungary's rich culinary history and the art of transforming simple ingredients into extraordinary dishes.
In this recipe, we'll delve into the world of Hungarian cooking, exploring the origins of goulash and the nuances that make this variation with beans, bacon, and apples a must-try. We'll also uncover the secrets to achieving the perfect balance of sweet and savory, smoky and spicy, that defines this beloved Hungarian comfort food. So, if you're ready to embark on a culinary journey through Hungary's heartland, grab your apron and let's discover the magic of Hungarian Bean Goulash with Bacon and Apples.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Course Main Course
Cuisine Hungarian
Servings 10 servings


  • 35/1 oz/kg white beans
  • 35/1 oz/kg smoked bacon
  • 17/500 oz/g yellow onions
  • 1 head of garlic or to taste
  • 25/750 oz/g sweet apples
  • 4 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 35/1 fl oz/l concentrated tomato broth or tomato juice
  • some salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 bunch of green dill
  • sour cream for garnish (optional)


  • soak the beans overnight, boil them for about 30-45 min or until soft al dente, then drain the water in which they boiled.
  • cut the bacon into larger pieces.
  • peel the onion and finely chop it.
  • peel the garlic and finely chop it.
  • peel the apples, remove the stub and seeds, then cut them into larger pieces.
  • fry the bacon in a skillet at a medium-high temperature in 2-3 tablespoons of oil until it becomes golden (about 5-10 minutes).
  • put the fried bacon in the pot with beans.
  • put the garlic and onion in the skillet and fry them until glassy (3-5 min).
  • add the apples to the skillet and fry the ingredients for about 5 minutes more.
  • put onions and apples in the pot with beans.
  • pour the tomato broth over the beans, then pour some lukewarm water until you fill the pot up about 2/3.
  • season with salt and black pepper to taste.
  • add dried thyme and dried bay leaves.
  • simmer ingredients over a low temperature until the beans are very soft (about 45-60 min), then add chopped dill to taste, and cook the goulash for about 5 minutes more.
  • wait to rest 5-10 minutes, then serve the goulash topped with sour cream (optional.)



Cooking Tips for the Best Results:

1. Use High-Quality Hungarian Paprika: Hungarian paprika is the soul of this dish. Ensure you’re using high-quality, authentic Hungarian paprika for the most authentic and robust flavor.
2. Opt for Smoked Bacon: Choose smoked bacon to impart a delightful smokiness to the goulash. Its savory essence will enhance the overall taste of the dish.
3. Balance the Sweet and Savory: The addition of apples brings a hint of natural sweetness. Balance this sweetness with a touch of vinegar or lemon juice if needed to maintain the savory profile of the goulash.
4. Don’t Rush the Cooking Time: The magic of this goulash lies in the slow cooking process. Allow the flavors to meld together over low heat, letting the beans become tender and the bacon infuse its essence.
5. Serve with Fresh Crusty Bread: Hungarian goulash is traditionally served with crusty bread. Be sure to have some on hand to soak up the flavorful broth and savor every last bit of this delightful dish.

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FAQs about Hungarian Bean Goulash (Babgulyás)

What is Hungarian bean goulash (Babgulyás)?

Hungarian bean goulash, also known as Babgulyás, is a traditional Hungarian stew made with beans, vegetables, and spices. It may or may not contain meat, which when used is usually smoked pork such as ham shank, sausages, bacon, or ribs. Any variation is a hearty and flavorful dish that is popular in Hungarian cuisine. While goulash typically refers to a meat-based stew, Babgulyás can be also a vegetarian or vegan variation that focuses on beans as the main protein source.

What are the key ingredients in this Hungarian goulash?

The main ingredients in Hungarian bean goulash are beans, such as kidney beans or pinto beans, and a variety of vegetables, including onions, bell peppers, carrots, and tomatoes. The dish is typically seasoned with paprika, garlic, and other herbs and spices for added flavor. Some variations may also include potatoes or other vegetables based on personal preference. Other versions include also smoked pork.

How do I make Hungarian bean goulash?

To make Hungarian bean goulash, start by soaking dried beans overnight, or use canned beans for convenience. In a large pot, sauté onions, garlic, and vegetables until they are soft and fragrant. Add the beans, tomatoes, and spices, such as paprika, salt, and pepper. Pour in enough vegetable broth or water to cover the ingredients and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pot, and simmer until the beans are tender and the flavors have melded together. Adjust the seasoning if needed, and serve the goulash hot.

Can I use different types of beans in this Hungarian goulash?

Yes, you can use different types of beans in this Hungarian goulash based on your preference. Kidney beans and pinto beans are commonly used, but you can also try black beans, white beans, or a combination of different beans to add variety and texture to the dish.

Can I make Hungarian bean goulash in a slow cooker or instant pot?

Yes, Hungarian bean goulash can be made in a slow cooker or Instant Pot for added convenience. If using a slow cooker, simply combine all the ingredients in the pot, set it to low heat, and let it cook for several hours until the beans are tender. For an instant pot, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cooking beans or use the pressure cook function for a shorter cooking time.

What are some common variations or additions to Hungarian bean goulash?

Hungarian bean goulash can be customized to suit individual tastes. Some common variations or additions include adding smoked paprika or hot paprika for a spicier flavor, including diced potatoes or sweet potatoes for added heartiness, or incorporating other vegetables like zucchini or mushrooms. Some recipes may also call for the addition of herbs such as thyme, bay leaves, or parsley for additional aroma and flavor.

What can I serve with Hungarian bean goulash?

Hungarian bean goulash is often served with crusty bread or Hungarian-style dumplings called nokedli or galuska. It can also be accompanied by a side salad or pickles for a refreshing contrast. Additionally, you can enjoy it as a standalone dish or pair it with other Hungarian-inspired dishes for a complete meal.

➡️ Enjoy cooking Hungarian goulash recipes from scratch! For additional info, read more on goulash. I also recommend other tasty Hungarian goulash recipes available on this website (see below.)

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